While renting my furnished condo, the home theatre projector stopped working. After reading the great reviews about AMI electronics, I asked my tenants to take the projector there for repair since I was out of the country at the time, which they did on March 4, 2016. The estimate came at $350 for a broken power supply and when I called Mr. Oscar he said it will be ready in a couple of days. While the projector itself is not worth more than $400 and the estimate was a bit steep, having just bought two new lamps for the projector, and not wanting my tenants to stay without home entertainment system, I decided to go ahead with the repair. As promised, couple of days later they got the projector back, however it was still not working. They sent the projector back to the shop and the diagnosis was that there’s something wrong with the motherboard which needs to be replaced. I called Oscar and he said he needs to order the part and it takes time and “don’t worry it will be fixed”. My tenants were going away for a while and when they came back on April 1st, the projector was still not ready. I called Oscar and he said the parts are coming from overseas and it should be here next week. On April 13, I got the following email from my tenants:
Ok, so we just talked to Oscar. We told him that you would call him, as this is obviously your decision and we’re not sure what you want to do- but just want to summarize what exactly happened between us bringing it there in March and now, so you can make an informed decision! We’re a bit annoyed with him, but then again…maybe he didn’t do anything wrong. This is just how we see it.
-We called, he picked it up. Said he’d ordered the right part (the problem was the power supply) and it was fixed, charged you 350$ (approx.) and returned it to us right away…like within 2-3 days.
-We called him right back and told him it still didn’t work. He basically didn’t believe us, we had to explain that the exact same thing was happening, then he came back to pick it up again.
-Called us back 1-2 days later and said “you’re right, it doesn’t work!” and that the problem was something else, which he needed to order more parts for. We don’t think we asked for a time estimate, but also didn’t expect it to take 3 weeks… -I called last week (as did you) and he said he was still waiting for parts and it would probably be fixed by the weekend
-Called him again yesterday (Tues) and he said he’d just received the parts half an hour ago, that he would fix it that night, and drop it off today.
-He just called to say basically it can’t be fixed unless he orders a new motherboard...which is confusing because that’s what we thought we were waiting for this time. He said it could cost about 500$. He said he wouldn’t charge for the labour, but would charge for the parts. Otherwise, if you decide you just want the projector back unfixed, he would refund 50% of the cost you paid.
It’s kind of our opinion that you shouldn’t have been charged 350$ to begin with, for the wrong part…that he probably could have done a better overview and you could have agreed to the right costs/risks beforehand. Or that you should at least be able to see the receipts for the parts he ordered and check the prices…I don’t know. All just seems a bit weird. Then again, if this is how it normally works with repair services, then maybe it’s fair. Either way it’s totally up to you, we’ve been super nice to Oscar and he’s been nice to us, so there’s no problem there…but if it was our money we’d be a bit skeptical, so wanted to let u know all of this!!
Hope that helps. Sorry that was such a long email! Oscar is expecting your call, so just let us know once you’ve spoken with him (or he can call us) and we can either pick it up or do whatever you need us to do, no problem!
Naturally I wasn’t thrilled. It took more than 5 weeks, $350 and still the projector is not fixed and now I have to pay another $500 and I have no guarantee it will be fixed this time around, plus I had to compensate my tenants for the time they stayed without a projector, due to the delay in fixing it.
I called Oscar and he explained that some other part needs to be ordered and it will take about 3 weeks since it’s coming from overseas and it cost around $570.
I explained, in the nicest way possible, that it’s not fair to give me wrong estimate on both price and time, charge me $350, ask for $570 more and take 2 month (5 weeks + 3 weeks for the new parts) to fix it. He got really defensive and said he had to spend time and money fixing it and it’s perfectly fair and “read my reviews” and if you think it’s not fair, you can post whatever you want online. He went on about how he fixed it and that he have two “witnesses” that it was working when he gave it to my tenants but they somehow broke it (although the projector behaved exactly the same way after the supposed “fix” as before the fix, which is shutting off on its own after few seconds, so obviously it was not repaired). He said if I don’t want to continue with the repair, he can refund 50% of the initial estimate and called it “refuse to fix” charge. When I explained that I didn’t refuse to fix based on his original estimate, and I shouldn’t pay for his failure to diagnose the problem (twice) and I request full refund, his answer was: “I’m busy here and there’re people waiting, so think about it and call me when you decide what you want to do” then he hung up on me without waiting for a response.
I’m not sure what to think of Mr. Oscar business practices, work ethics, manners or technical abilities. He scores very little on all fronts as far as I’m concerned. On top of not fixing the projector, delaying me 5 weeks, and charging $350, his website claims the following, under “policies” section:
• Estimate provided is final and cannot be changed even if cost of repair to AMI is greater than estimate amount
• All requests for repairs require a deposit from $20 to $100.
• Deposit is returned to the customer if a repair is not feasible.
Trying to salvage as much as I could, I asked my tenants to get back the projector with whatever refund they could get, which they managed to do with a refund of $190 (54% of the original estimate)
Legally, the consumer protection act of Ontario allows for a max of 10% extra charge over the original “written” estimate and it requires that if the estimate itself cost any money, it must be disclosed to the customer before the estimate is done. Unfortunately, I didn’t ask for a written estimate from Mr. Oscar.
Looking closer at the reviews at homestars, I found complaints similar to mine (Item not repaired after multiple tries, deposit not returned): “LCD TV repair” at https://homestars.com/companies/2592645-ami-repair-service-inc?review_page=6 and “CD Player Repair” at https://homestars.com/companies/2592645-ami-repair-service-inc?review_page=4 and “Electronic Repair” at https://homestars.com/companies/2592645-ami-repair-service-inc?review_page=8
More digging and I found two official complaints on Better Business Bureau http://www.bbb.org/kitchener/business-reviews/electronic-equipment-and-suppliers-service-and-repair/ami-electronics-in-toronto-on-1179277/complaints with the same theme (item not fixed, deposit not returned)
The above could suggests that Mr. Oscar's business is less than reputable and the positive reviews on Homestars or google could very well be fake. In response to the “CD Player Repair” review, he boasted that he have “over 1 million satisfied customers in 40 years”. This works out to be 69 repairs per day, every day for the past 40 years or one repair every 8 minutes. It also means that Mr. Oscar made over $100 million during his career, assuming a meager $100 per repair. This leads me to believe that Mr. Oscar is either delusional or possess some super-human powers. I really doubt the latter and as such, in addition to this review, I will be filing a complaint with the BBB.